Theater By the Book presents ‘The Moors’ at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City
KNOW & GO
WHO: Sierra Stages and Miners Foundry Cultural Center present Theater By the Book “The Moors”
WHEN: Wednesday, Jan. 22. Doors 7 p.m., Show 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring Street, Nevada City
TICKETS: $10 Suggested Donation, Tickets are available online at www.minersfoundry.org, by phone 530-265-5040 or in person at the Miners Foundry, or at the door.
On Wednesday, Jan. 22, Theater By the Book returns with the savagely funny play “The Moors” — a mysterious, menacing, and hilarious mash-up — as though the Brönte Sisters had been dropped into a comedic production of a play by Samuel Beckett.
Written by Jen Silverman and directed by Laura LeBleu, “The Moors” is the story of two sisters (and a melancholy mastiff) who live in a ruinous old house on the bleak and fog-enshrouded English moors, dreaming of love and power. When a hapless governess (and a crash-prone moor-hen) arrives out of nowhere, lies are unmasked, loyalties shift, and all are set on a strange and dangerous path until finally — someone reaches the breaking point.
“I’m a sucker for the Brönte’s brand of spooky Gothic romance — the dangerous moors, the plucky governess, the brooding man of the house, and, of course, there’s always someone shut away in the attic,” says LeBleu. “‘The Moors’ takes all these tropes and turns them on their head in a way that is contemporary and really hilarious. There’s even a subplot love story between a mastiff and a moor-hen, and the whole thing is just heartbreaking and funny as hell.”
Starring in “The Moors” are Heidi Grass and Shannon Harney, who LeBleu met while performing in Sierra Stages’ “Cabaret.” Local favorites Trish Adair and Michele Nesbit round out the vibrant cast as the crafty scullery maid and flight-challenged moor-hen, along with John Ficarra, LeBleu’s husband and artistic collaborator.
“The local acting talent pool is ridiculously deep, so I was a kid in a candy shop when it came to casting,” says LeBleu.
Co-presented by Sierra Stages and the Miners Foundry, Theater By the Book is a series of informal play readings for the community. Now in its eighth season, Theater By the Book is an opportunity for local theatre artists and audiences to enjoy material that would otherwise be unavailable. The beauty of the reading format is that it offers the text — the playwright’s words — but without making the demands that is routinely necessary for a full production. All that is needed for a reading is a director, a cast of actors whose rehearsal commitment is quite brief, and the audience’s imagination.
“From a directorial perspective, Theater By the Book is simultaneously freeing and challenging. Because it’s a staged reading, there’s no hiding behind a lush set or fancy lights — it’s just the actors and the dialogue and the relationships between the characters. This requires the actors to be incredibly crisp in their intentions, which is where the bulk of my work as a director comes in,” explains LeBleu. “But the magic of Theater By the Book is that the audience and the actors really get to use their imaginations to fill in the gaps, which can be exhilarating experience for all involved.”
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